Sunday, January 25, 2015

We are hoping the Blue Zone Project is coming to Kaneohe. Kaneohe is one of five communities in Hawaii that have expressed an interest in becoming a blue zone community. Three communities will be selected as demonstration projects. The selection decision is supposed to be made this month (January).

What is a blue zone community? Blue zone communities are based on a National Geographic study of communities around the world where people live exceptionally long and productive lives. Common elements in those communities were found to be:
  • A low-fat diet
  • an active lifestyle
  • a supportive Ohana and community
  • a life lived with purpose

We don't have to wait for the blue zone project to make the small changes that can make a huge difference in our lives.

The key to success are small changes that become part of our lives. Sometimes those small changes can be daunting. Not picking up a cigarette is a small thing, but for a smoker it's a small thing that seems impossible.

We all know we can eat better. More vegetables and fruit and less fat and sweets can easily become part of our lifestyle. Eat a 4 ounce steak instead of a 12 ounce one. Have one chocolate kiss instead of four. Eating less and eating better is a small thing that takes planning and determination.

An active lifestyle is easy. Walk the dog, or park at the far end of the parking lot. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Look for opportunities in your everyday life to be more active.

Exercise physiologists have shown short periods of exercise can be very beneficial, but that exercise has to be at your maximum capacity. Running up a flight of stairs and resting for a minute at the top is much more beneficial than a slow grinding climb. Whether you're on a bike, taking a walk or swimming go as hard as you can for a minute, then back off for a minute and do it again 10 times.

An exercise routine can be as short as seven minutes, but it needs to be intense and it needs to exercise all of your body. Click here for a short overview of the seven minute workout and then use this website to guide and time your exercise.  If you cannot do it all, do what you can and watch your improvement.  Oh yes, the good part, rest for a day between workouts.  Your body needs time to recover.

Perhaps most important is to feel we have value. Find something you're passionate about and work to make a difference in your life and in the life of others.

The Blue Zone Project is about making small changes in our lives and in our community that can improve longevity and quality of life. The Blue Zone Project will encourage individual responsibility, it will work with local businesses to offer a healthier life style to their employees and to their customers and it will work with community leaders to identify ways we can make Kaneohe a more livable community.

Look at your community and find ways to make it more livable. In Kaneohe, we need services that will help the elderly age in their homes and we need better transportation for those who cannot drive. Making small changes can be a huge problem,  Sometimes it requires a determined community to come together to nudge their legislators to take action. The Blue Zone Project can help us work together to make Kaneohe an even better place for all of us to live.

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